The Inspector General is investigating the thwarted “raid” on the Governor’s Mansion over an alleged administrative prison rule violation over a non-criminal conspiracy to smuggle cigarettes into a state correctional facility.? The Inspector General has a specific statutory charge into this matter and the experience and expertise to determine what, if anything, that office uncovers is a violation of Ohio law.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee is chaired by a man who was sanctioned by the Ohio Supreme Court for filing a frivolous suit on behalf of his wife, then a member of a General Assembly, seeking to reinsert a pork appropriation to an airport in the district that was removed from legislation.? (Ironically, Grendall actually cites his record on tort reform against frivolous lawsuits as one of his major legislative achievements.)? This is the second time that a case involving Sen. Grendall had been ruled “meritless” by the Ohio Supreme Court. See, State ex rel.? The Ryant Comm. v. Lorain Cnty. Bd. of Elections, 86 Ohio St.3d 108, 1999-Ohio-88.? This is who the Senate Republicans are entrusting to evaluate the merits of a criminal investigation that the head of the law enforcement agency investigating the matter concluded very likely was meritless.

The Ohio Inspector General has asked the Senate Chairman to stop his political committee hearings (after all, the committee has no power to file criminal charges, and no bill is under consideration) until the the I.G. gets an opportunity to interview these critical witnesses first.

Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman essentially told the Inspector General’s Office to go screw themselves.

So we have a politician willing to interfere with a law enforcement investigation for political purposes… so that he could hold hearings in which he can allege that a law enforcement investigation was interfered with … for political reasons.

On top of that, the Republican Chairman is not willing to have the sworn testimony of his witnesses, witnesses he has called and subpoenaed under oat, witnesses who were viewed as by all observers as likely to be biased witnesses who would try to embarrass the Strickland Administration politically, officially transcribed by a court reporter.

Instead, the Republican Chairman told the Ranking Democrat on the committee, State Sen. Nina Turner (D)-Cleveland, that if she wanted the hearings transcribed she could hire her own court reporter at her “own personal expense” then he MIGHT consider permitting it if he got to approve her selection of personally funded court reporter FIRST.

Without an official transcript, it’s difficult to imagine how any witness could ever be prosecuted for perjury.? The failure to have a transcript is an invitation for perjury.? Because without a transcript, any perjury charge is subject to the collective recollection of the members of the Committee who heard this testimony.? Good luck with that prosecution.? This tells me that Grendell doesn’t care about preserving the committee’s ability to refer any witness for prosecution for perjury.

Sen. Grendell is not interested in uncovering the truth, or the sanctity of criminal investigations immune from political influence.? He’s actions today reveal what his committee hearings are all about: an election year political witch hunt.

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